Dance team

The Spartan Dance Club from Mountain View High School is set to perform a jazz dance and then teach a hip-hop dance lesson to First Friday visitors 6-6:45 p.m. Friday at Veterans Community Plaza in downtown Los Altos. (Photo courtesy of Carol Garsten)

 

The next downtown Los Altos First Friday event, 6-8 p.m. Friday, features a “Dancing in the Streets” exhibition and dance lesson by local youth dance groups at Veterans Community Plaza, followed by music all around downtown.

After a 13-month hiatus, First Friday made a successful return to downtown Los Altos April 2, according to organizers. The monthly events, which aim to draw visitors to downtown restaurants and shops, offer live entertainment, special promotions and themed games and activities.

“With eight community bands playing various styles of music in the downtown triangle, Los Altos First Friday is like no other,” said Jamie Lucia, First Friday co-chairperson and owner of Los Altos Community Chiropractic. “The bands come out to play for free for the sheer joy of playing music and for the love of community.”

After a year of lockdowns, hundreds of people were “thrilled” to have the opportunity to get out on the brisk April evening and reconnect with friends and family in a safe outdoor environment, Lucia added.

“Live music has never been so exciting,” said local resident Lisa Karpinski as she danced to her favorite First Friday blues band, Eurotrash, which plays at First Fridays in front of Chase Bank on Main Street. “After sheltering in place for so long, this First Friday I was so happy to have a chance to reconnect with people I used to see regularly. It warmed my heart.”

The First Friday Committee was determined to bring back First Friday in a safe way, said Carol Garsten, First Friday co-chairperson and owner of Nature Gallery on State Street.

“We hung signs at all the band locations thanking everyone for wearing a face-covering, staying socially distanced and also a reminder to have fun,” Garsten said.

A large group gathered at Veterans Community Plaza for a performance by the 12-piece Big Mike and the HartBeats.

“Playing at First Friday after 13 months is a dream come true,” said Mike Hart, also known as “Big Mike.” “We’re a large band, so we need big space to play. Downtown Los Altos’ Veterans Community Plaza is perfect. We love playing for an audience that gets into the groove of our music. Friday’s gig did not disappoint. We had a great time. We’re so happy to have a regular First Friday gig on our schedule once again.” 

Another Los Altos First Friday regular, The Song Gardeners, played on the patio at Enchanté Boutique Hotel.

“We got our start at First Friday in August 2019, so it has a very special meaning to us,” said Mary Gospe, singer/songwriter for The Song Gardeners. “We were thrilled to see so many friends and neighbors out supporting out local merchants, restaurants and musicians. Safely socializing, dining and dancing – so good for our health and the health of our community.”

Lucia said it was “amazing to see our community come alive again.”

“The bands were amazing and there was such a great vibe in downtown,” she said. “It was beautiful to see people out having so much fun.” 

For more information on First Friday, email Lucia at drjamie@sbcglobal.net or Gar-

sten at carol@nature-gallery.com, or visit losaltosfirstfriday.org.